Should the Mets prevail over the pack and clinch a wild-card berth, considerable credit should go to their nondescript spot starters who have combined to keep them afloat while injuries sideline their heralded young arms.
Robert Gsellman is the latest, giving up one run in six innings in the Mets’ 3-1 victory over Washington. It was Gsellman’s second victory. Seth Lugo, Sunday’s starter, has won twice; Gabriel Ynoa has a win; Rafael Montero, Tuesday’s starter in place of Jacob deGrom, threw five scoreless innings to take a no-decision against Miami; and Josh Smoker has a victory in relief.
“The young energy has picked us up a lot,” catcher Travis d’Arnaud said.
To say “pick up” might be an oversimplification. That’s six wins in games they would have been favored to lose, so instead of possibly being below .500, they are now a game behind St. Louis for the second wild card.
It wasn’t as if Gsellman was overpowering. Instead, the Nationals had him reeling a couple of times, but he composed himself to minimize the damage.
Washington had the bases loaded with one out in the first inning, but Gsellman held the Nationals to a sacrifice fly.
“The game could change in the first inning,” Gsellman said. “[I just want to] take a deep breath and don’t try to get too ahead of yourself.’’
Another key moment came in the fourth when the Nationals put the first two runners on, but Gsellman regrouped to get the next three hitters, including fielding Tanner Roark’s bunt to force a runner at third.
“I think it’s a tribute to his make-up,” Collins said. “That [first inning] was a big inning for him by limiting the damage. … I’ve been hearing what kind of stuff he has and we’re seeing it.”
Gsellman was the headliner, with the other two storylines being Curtis Granderson and several injury updates.
GRANDERSON COMES THROUGH: If there has been a recurring theme this season it has been the Mets’ inability to hit with RISP, particularly Granderson, who broke a 1-for-31 slide in that situation with a two-run single in the third.
Even so, one of the Mets’ most head-scratching statistics this season is Granderson’s 22 homers with only 40 RBI.
It’s staggering when you think about it.
INJURY UPDATES: Steven Matz is expected to resume throwing Monday in Port St. Lucie. He’s on the disabled list with an impingement in his shoulder. … Lucas Duda (back) is swinging at soft-toss pitches and could take batting practice by the end of the week. The Mets say he could return this season. … Zack Wheeler has been shut down for the rest of the year with a strained right flexor muscle. … Neil Walker’s microdiscectomy surgery is expected this week.